The National Peace Committee has bemoaned the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission a few hours to the polls.

The group called on Nigerians not to despair, but defend the nation’s democracy.

In a statement entitled: “Nigerians: Rise up and obey the nation’s call”, issued on Tuesday by its Chairman, Gen Abdusalami Abubakar, and Convener, Bishop Matthew Kukah, the group expressed its disappointment with the development with postponement of the polls.

The statement said although the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had already addressed the nation and the leaders of the parties, “very little has happened to assuage the deep feeling of embarrassment, pain, and disappointment across the land”.

The statement said, “The impact of this decision has permeated every stratum of our lives and has the potential to dampen the confidence of our people in the political process. It has further deepened anxieties within the international community about our country.

“There is enough blame to pass around. The real challenge now is for us as a nation to reach out to the deepest instincts of faith in God and our country. We must put everything aside and see this as a battle that all of us must win. The challenge is not who to sacrifice, but what sacrifice to make.”

The committee appealed to Nigerians to remain calm and show understanding.

It said, “We understand your right to feel betrayed and humiliated by INEC. “However, we appeal to you all to see this as a watershed in the life of our fledgling democracy.

“The only way we can ensure a steady democracy is for us to learn the lessons from these sad developments.

“Therefore, we appeal to you not to count the cost of the setback, but respond to the call to patriotism. Do not relent, go out and fulfil your duty to your family and country on Election Day. We will soon turn the corner in hope. Rather than despair, rise up to defend our democracy.”

The committee urged INEC to focus on the task ahead.

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